Don’t Include Us In Inclusion!

Inclusion is when they “include” your special needs child into a regular classroom setting. Though there are some benefits to this, for us it’s not the right choice. While in Atlanta, one of MJ’s teachers recommended that MJ be included in a “regular” reading class. MJ was able to read but people, he was not able to comprehend what he read. Nevertheless, with the teacher’s suggestion we thought about it and decided to give it a try. Hated it! The teacher of the reading class CLEARLY had no clue what autism was. She would send home notes regarding the noises MJ would make and his inability to stay focused and stay seated. NEWS FLASH LADY, HE HAS AUTISM!  I stayed “saved” and remained a Christian until she sent home a paper with a grade of  “F” on it. At that point I turned into “Nicky from the 305” and had to go to the school and “regulate”…The teacher was not equipped to work with MJ. Even with an assistant in the room, MJ still made noises, and just could not stay on task and focus like the other kids. We have never done that again. The point is, INCLUSION WAS NOT THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR OUR SON! I DIDN’T CARE WHAT THEY TRIED TO TELL ME AT THE SCHOOL. We KNOW that MJ consistently needs a small classroom setting with more than one teacher in the room. He thrives in that type of environment. As of right now, MJ attends an autism classroom at our local elementary school. It has been amazing. Maybe things will change in the future and he will be able participate in a regular classroom, but right now I have to advocate for my child and do what is best for him.

Side note: MJ attends a “regular” art class and P.E. class with the rest of his peers. A teacher is with them at all times.

My Husband…Oh, My Husband!

Through the next few years it became increasingly  more difficult for my husband to deal with MJ and his autism diagnosis. NO PEOPLE HE WASN’T IN DENIAL (people love to say this)! He was very much aware of what we were dealing with and he didn’t like it one bit. He came home one day and I could tell something was wrong by the look on his face. I asked “What’s wrong…what happened,” He said, “Today when I dropped MJ off to daycare, three little girls called out to MJ and instead of him going toward them to say ‘hello,’ he ran away from them!” In all seriousness, he speaks his truth about the situation and although it is hard for me to hear at times, I appreciate his honesty. You know they say men do not talk much and they hold in their feelings?!?! Well, NOT THIS GUY. I would love for him to join a support group or see a therapist but he refuses. Maybe one day through prayer he will change his mind. I can honestly say that on some days it is more difficult dealing with my husband’s feelings about this, then it is to deal with MJ!!! I researched and found out that the divorce rates were high for the parents of special needs children. I informed my husband about this and we both looked at each other as if to say “we know why”. When MJ was younger and the constant screaming, banging and throwing toys, and not being able to understand what MJ was saying was happening, there were days that he just had to leave the house for a few. IT WAS HARD TO ENDURE PEOPLE! I never took offense to it…I would rather him leave and re-group, then to do or say something hurtful. Thankfully for us, we are friends. We communicate a lot with each other even when one person is saying something the other doesn’t agree with. We may have to take a break (I put the Vaseline back in the cabinet and put my earrings back on lol) and then continue our conversation, but we make sure that there is some kind of resolve. I remember one conversation where I asked him about “teamwork”. I took the lead with most of the “things” regarding MJ. I knew how this entire situation made him feel and, can I be honest? I knew I would do a better job at it! So, what I could do on my own, I did, while at the same time keeping my husband informed. Teamwork, my husband’s sense of humor, and God is how we have stayed together over the years…Oh and one more thing…our annual “stay married” vacation :-)…